Despite a shaky pitching performance by usually steady starter in Jimmy Cron, Benilde-St. Margaret’s rallied to defeat St. Louis Park 7-3 in the Class 3A, Section 6 winner's bracket playoffs Wednesday night at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.  

The Red Knights (16-4) have had a strong pitching foundation this season, but Cron couldn’t seem to find the zone against the Orioles (12-8). In the first matchup between these two teams earlier this season, Cron threw three innings but gave up three runs on eight hits. Cron said he was unable to get in his groove.

“Even though the end result wasn’t all that bad, something just didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t spot my pitches as effectively as usual,” Cron said. 

During the regular season, Cron was 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA, 19 strikeouts and seven walks. Although Cron didn’t “feel right,” Benilde-St. Margaret's Greg Hoemke said Cron kept the Red Knights in the game even without his best stuff. 

“He did a nice job of battling,” Hoemke said. “He wasn’t really sharp today. He didn’t have his best fastball. He had trouble spotting his pitches. He was going three and two every hitter, but he battled and he got it done. He held it to two and gave us a chance to come back.”   

Centerfielder Sam Lynch, who had a clutch two-run single in the seventh inning, said Cron kept the Orioles in check. 

“Jimmy did well and held them to two,” Lynch said. “He got scuffed a little bit, but hung in there and battled.” 

Unlike the starting pitching, one thing that was consistent was the Red Knights' confidence. For a team that’s struggling on the mound and in the box, it would have been easy Benilde-St. Margaret's to get rattled.

“I don’t think they lost their confidence,” Hoemke said. “When Tyler (Wyvell) went in there for Jimmy (Cron) and immediately was pumping strikes and throwing hard, I think they thought we can ride him here.” 

The Red Knights scored three runs in the fourth inning and never looked back. They went on to score two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh. 

The nail in the coffin was a two-run single to right field from Lynch in the seventh. That gave the Red Knights the eventual game winning 7-3 score in the top of the seventh. Lynch said all the Benilde batters were finding the right pitch.

“We came out swinging,” Lynch said. “We were trying to be patient, look for our pitches, and we did a pretty good job of that.”

Benilde-St. Margaret's will face an unknown opponent in Robbinsdale Armstrong in the winner's bracket championship. The teams did not meet in the regular season.

“It’s a tough road going ahead here,” Hoemke said. “Any team, even if we win tomorrow and sitting there on Monday night, any team is capable of beating us twice. I’m not going to be over confident, this is baseball.”

St. Louis Park's Joe Burnley (center) is congratulated by his teammates as the Orioles take an early lead in their 7-3 loss to Benilde-St. Margaret's. Photo by Rick OrndorfSt. Louis Park's Joe Burnley (center) is congratulated by his teammates as the Orio

First Report

Despite relying heavily on a solid pitching foundation this season, top-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret's leaned on its bats Tuesday night in a 7-3 victory over No. 4 seed St. Louis Park in the Class 3A, Section 6 playoffs Tuesday night at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.

St. Louis Park (12-7) took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, and No. 12-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret's (16-4) couldn't take advantage of shaky pitching from Orioles junior Archie Olson until the fourth inning, when the Red Knights scored three runs to take the lead for good.

Benilde-St. Margaret's scored two more runs in the sixth, and capped the victory with a two-run single in the seventh from senior center fielder Sam Lynch.

Red Knights senior starting pitcher Jimmy Cron pitched five innings and gave up two runs, walking five and striking out two.

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